Championship leader Guanyu Zhou introduced a new helmet for Round 3 of the season in Baku, inspired by his sporting hero, the late Kobe Bryant.

We spoke with the UNI-Virtuosi racer to discuss the new design, looking at the links to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, as well as the Chinese inspiration behind it.

“The colour scheme is gold and purple with silver chrome, which is, firstly, in remembrance of Kobe Bryant because he was an idol to me and someone I really looked up to. I love having a helmet design in his colours.

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“I also wanted to capture a little of my details from the past as well, so at the top, I have these patterns, which is my name inside of a flowerpot because it's a Chinese tradition. The traditional colour is blue and white, but I have it in purple and white to go with the helmet.

“I love the top of the helmet. The pottery is like the old days with the Chinese plates. It's really historic and there a lot of people who will see that and know that you are coming from China, so that's something I would like to always carry on my helmet in the future.

“On the side, I have a whole Shanghai skyline, which is where I was born and grew up. To be the only Chinese driver in the paddock is something special and I felt like I needed to make a helmet that stood for that.

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“I did the design of this helmet myself but had a little bit of help from Halan Design, who is a Chinese designer. MDM then put the whole design together. There are a few different designs from a few different designers, and as a driver that's something I want to carry from now and into the future, keeping a similar design.

“What I designed the most was the side skyline, which was completely my idea. I remember finding pictures on the internet and then getting a white helmet. Not a lot of people have a whole skyline of a city on the side, so that was my idea.

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“My logo isn’t new, it’s been on there for around three or four years now, but it is designed to be quite sharp at the end, a bit like racing like it is travelling at speed. Then inside of that, I have a Z, and then if you turn it to the side, you can see the whole layout looks like a G on both sides.”